Scrapbooking garners Cannon employee award

USAF photo: Airman 1st Class James R. Bell Debbie Baldwin, 27th Special Operations Medical Dental Group, was recognized by the Society of American Indian Government Employees for her efforts in documenting Native American cultural events.

By La Dona Beevers: 27th SOW Public Affairs

A scrapbook highlighting Native American heritage was pivotal in earning an employee here nationwide recognition.

Debbie Baldwin, a secretary who works for the 27th Special Operations Medical Operations, was selected by the Society of American Indian Government

Employees for the award at its conference in San Diego, Calif. in June. Unfortunately, a schedule conflict kept her from personally accepting it.

Among its missions, SAIGE provides a national forum for issues and topics that affect American Indian and Alaska Native government employees. It promotes the recruitment, retention, development and the advancement of American Indian and Alaska Native government employees.

According to Baldwin, she created the scrapbook, “to share a piece of my heritage with the members of Cannon Air Force Base. The end result becomes a piece of my heart.” Her scrapbook artistically showcases her coordination of a variety of Native American speakers or performers who share a rich heritage.

She and her father are members of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation in Toppenish, Wash. Her mother is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservations in Nespelem, Wash.

Baldwin was nominated by Lt. Col. James Reineke, 27 SOMDOS commander, who, in nomintating her, wrote that her “energetic approach and exceptional individual qualities have clearly inspired others to action; this is evident in the long list of accomplishments and accolades of colleagues in here nomination portfolio.”

Baldwin met and married Randy Baldwin, a local area cattle buyer, in 2001, and moved to Clovis. It was the first time she had lived anywhere but on the reservation in Washington.

“My family still all live there,” she said. “I am the only one who moved. The first year was very tough.”
Baldwin began work at Cannon in 2002 and became volunteer member of the Cultural Observance Committee in 2003. Her scrapbooking provided her the opportunity to learn and share the culture of the tribes in New Mexico.

“It has been and very educational for me,” she said. “I am not familiar with the tribes in this area and their way of life is very different from our way of life (on the Washington reservation),” she said.

It has also provided her parents an opportunity to see a part of the United States they might not otherwise have had the opportunity.

“My family is able to come, and my parents attended one of the (Cultural Observance Committee) events that I was involved in,” she said. “They enjoyed coming to the base.”